Of all the positions to track for football success from the youth level, linemen may be the hardest to call. After all, the largest kid in the playground in sixth grade may be one of the smallest by his or her high school graduation. That’s all to say that you just can’t be sure if a great middle school offensive or defensive lineman will still be a great one by the time he or she lines up on a varsity squad.
With all that being said, one Texas eighth grader sure looks like the real deal.
Elton “E.J.” Ndoma-Ogar Jr. is an eighth grader at Erecksen Middle School in Allen, Texas. He already stands 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds and moves with the explosiveness of a top linebacker; he ran a 5.6 second 40-yard dash before his eighth grade season. In fact, if he wasn’t so much larger than everyone else on the field, necessitating his role up front, he very well could play as a linebacker farther back.
Depending on how Ndoma-Ogar grows, that could still emerge as a possibility in the years ahead. For now the Allen native is still trying to learn by playing as much football as humanly possible. That’s hardly an exaggeration. According to this profile by Youth1, the lineman has already accepted an invitation to the FBU Top Gun Camp and participated in the Charles Haley Football Camp. That’s on top of time spent with no fewer than four different football squads during the year: the Ereckson Middle School eighth grade team (fall), the North Texas Express select team (fall) FBU Dallas/Ft. Worth squad (fall/winter), and the Allen Wild Dawgz (spring). He’s also been selected to take part in the 2014 Eastbay Youth All-America Game in December.
Want game stats? As you might expect for an eighth grade prospect, they’re pretty limited. But there is this: In the season’s first three middle school games, Ndoma-Ogar recorded 27 pancake blocks (9 per game!) and gave up a grand total of zero sacks. That’s a pretty strong start.
On top of that, Ndoma-Ogar has some pretty good football mentors. His father, also named Elton, was a four-year starter and co-captain of the Wake Forest football team. His brother is Divine Diggs, one of the standout linebackers for the current Super 25 No. 2-ranked Allen Eagles.
That’s where Ndoma-Ogar plans to be come fall 2015, whether he’s playing for the Eagles’ rather enormous junior varsity squad or becomes one of the select few who get promoted to Allen’s varsity team before their junior or senior year (though such a promotion would almost certainly coincide with plenty of time on the bench).
No matter where he ends up, Ndoma-Ogar is sure about one thing: His future is in football. Based on his current body of work (and his current body, for that matter), it’s hard not to agree.